Scientists studying cultural heritage use a variety of physics techniques to understand how pieces were made, their history and how to best preserve them. Six scientists who use different techniques describe their work — and how working with cultural heritage can lead to physics developments, too.
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Advanced methodologies for the cleaning of works of art
Science China Technological Sciences Open Access 12 May 2023
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M.L. makes the following acknowledgements: “I’d like to acknowledge Henry D. Smith II at Columbia University for his insights into the use and meaning of colour in Japan, John Delaney at the National Gallery of Art for his help with hyperspectral imaging, John Twilley for teaching me everything I know about art analysis but certainly not everything he knows, the late John Winter at the Freer Gallery of Art for introducing me to the study of Japanese art and the late Richard Ernst for countless discussions on art and science, and for waiting patiently, after I explained Fourier transforms to him, before telling me about his research on Fourier transform NMR, and that he was given a prize in Stockholm for that work”. K.F. would like to express sincere gratitude to the staff of the museums, especially conservators, for their cooperation and for their comments, which have been essential for the interpretation of the data. H.L. gratefully acknowledges collaborations with scientists, conservators and curators in various museums, galleries and other heritage organizations, contributions made by past and present staff and students of the ISAAC lab on OCT for art research in general, and, in particular, C. S. Cheung for developing the 2-μm OCT, University of Southampton colleagues Andrew Clarkson, Masaki Tokurakawa and Jae Daniel for developing broadband lasers at 2 microns and funding from the following: Leverhulme Trust Research Grant (F01 374F); UK Arts and Humanities Research Council and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (AHRC/EPSRC AH/H032665/1); UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC CDP/National Gallery AH/R00174X/1); UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC CDP/British Museum AH/R001413/1); UK Arts and Humanities Research Council and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (AHRC/EPSRC/English Heritage CDA08/429); UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC/National Gallery CASE/CAN/04/90/). P.B. is indebted to all the conservators and students who enthusiastically contributed to the development of the field, and acknowledges the European Commission for its financial support of this exotic research field. G.F. would like to thank all co-authors and researchers she had the opportunity to collaborate with in the field of multidisciplinary cultural heritage studies, for the fruitful collaborations and exchanges. V.L. and the Rock Art studies programme at the Centre of Accelerator Science at ANSTO acknowledge the financial support through the Australian National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy and Rock Art Australia Foundation, as well as the help of the radiocarbon laboratory staff. He would also like to thank all co-authors and collaborators in the labs and in the field for the chance to participate in such exciting studies.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Leona, M., Fukunaga, K., Liang, H. et al. From physics to art and back. Nat Rev Phys 3, 681–684 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s42254-021-00362-x
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Advanced methodologies for the cleaning of works of art
Science China Technological Sciences (2023)